Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Transforming Blow of a Rejection by Anna Putz

I'm excited to introduce a first time contributor to Seriously Write.

Anna Putz has a soulful story to share about her own writing journey and the transforming power of rejection. Much inspiration lies ahead!


I did it! I just hit the “send” button to the e-mail, delivering my first manuscript to the publisher. I spent the next two weeks eagerly waiting for a positive reply, convinced that since I have the calling and the talent to write, then it would be easy. I was confident in my abilities and excellence.

When I received the publisher’s negative response two weeks later, it hit me like a bomb. The rejection blasted my carefully constructed palace of expectations and plans of how my writing career would develop.

I needed time and God’s power to pick up and clear the debris of wrong assumptions, expectations and attitude.

In bits and pieces, God started to highlight some of my wrong beliefs.

The first was my extremely arrogant presumption that I already had what it takes and that everything I write is by default good and does not need perfecting. What I lacked was humility. I wanted to succeed without paying the price. I did not want that this cost me much.

Next, God gently showed me that I needed to adopt the attitude of a life-long learner. Once I did this, the burden of perfection lifted and opened the door for the fresh wind of enthusiasm to ignite again my passion. I decided that every day I would open myself to learn something new and put it into practice. Slowly under God’s leading, I started to develop new habits. I realized that God is training me in discipline, endurance and stamina. In addition to humility, these were the necessary qualities to fulfill my calling.

Writing for a living is more like a marathon, than a short sprint.

Not only my writing skills, but also my character and motivation needed transformation and adjustment. God was faithful to work diligently on both of these.

All hardships and trials I had encountered up to now, and all the losses, had been part of my preparation. They also gave me stories. Stories to write, stories to share.

Moreover, I realized the rejection was a tool to expose and purify my motives, to strengthen my real identity, and deepen my trust and dependence on God. The rejection of my work does not define who I am. Only my identity as an unconditionally loved child of God defines what I do and what I will do in terms of work and writing. Therefore, knowing where my value comes from, my soul could rest, strengthened against future rejections, failures and even successes.

In the hands of God, rejection is a highly effective tool to test our motivation and aspirations.

Why do we write? Is writing only a means to the end? Only a tool to obtain fame, wealth, recognition and significance? Do we want most of all to serve and honour God by pursuing the passion He placed in us?

I pray that we serve with pure hearts and pure words through which God will touch souls by bringing fresh insight and hope, life and transformation.

Writing for a living is more like a marathon, than a short sprint. #SeriouslyWrite @onthewaybg @MaryAFelkins

In God’s hands, rejection is part of our preparation. It is an effective tool to expose and purify our motivation, to refine our character and perfect our faith. #faith #writerslife #SeriouslyWrite @onthewaybg @MaryAFelkins

Anna Putz, alias Hadassah, is an aspiring writer working on her spiritual memoir, a Marketing and PR specialist, a blogger and a bilingual poet. She writes a blog to encourage and motivate the readers to keep moving in the journey of faith and to live a life of meaning and purpose. She is a Bulgarian living in Austria with her husband. She loves diving deeper in the Word of God. She enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

Connect with Anna:

http://onthewaybg.com/category/reflections/ (English)
http://onthewaybg.com/category/creativity/poems/ (poems in English)

Monday, April 29, 2019

God as Business Manager and Writing Partner by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Have you ever noticed that the scripture verse you cling to changes, depending on where you are currently at in your life? During the years I was seeking publication for the first time, my verse was Jeremiah 29:11. Now my verses are Proverbs 3:5–6. I tend to quote this passage to myself at least every other day.

I am twenty books into my career as a published, hybrid writer, and I find that I’m closer to the Lord than ever. I feel incapable of not only writing but also dealing with the daily grind of life without Him by my side. I trust Him to guide my words and my career. One of my critique partners says He is her business manager. I love that!

I loved the idea of the Lord being her business manager so much, I gave Him control in that area of my life too. After all, who knows me better, and who could possibly guide my path with perfection like He does? Granted, it’s not always easy to know His will, and there are times I feel like I’m floundering while I wait for direction. The funny thing about that is He has often told me, and I wasn’t listening. It’s only in hindsight that I realize I missed His guidance.

I see His hand in all my books. I had a blast writing my latest release, The Sleuth’s Dilemma, but it wasn’t without its challenges. I’m so thankful He’s not only my manager but my writing partner as well.


The Sleuth's Dilemma

Anna loves her job as a high school English teacher until everything goes sideways. The one bright spot in her life is Titus Gains, the school counselor, who is there for her at every turn. Titus’ boss complicates his ordered world when she tasks him with running a meeting that changes everything. How had he not noticed Anna earlier? Someone is out to destroy her, and he can’t let that happen.

As the head of the English department, part of Luke Harms’ job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. Things went haywire when Anna was put in charge of the big writing contest. Entries are missing, Anna appears to be in danger, and her job is on the line. Luke is investigating and wants to make things right for this woman he’s starting to care about. Can a trio of school officials along with Nancy Daley, the town sleuth, stop the saboteur before it’s too late? And will Anna choose the right man, or lose them both?


Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

Website: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Rose-Johnson/e/B00K10CR6E/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082210.Kimberly_Rose_Johnson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1566138407009549/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimberlyrosejoh

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/krose1990/

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Legacy of Writing by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Robin Patchen beat me to it. I was going to write a post that would have been eerily similar to hers, so I’ll refrain from stirring those roiling waters of writing for yourself versus writing for your readers again. (You can read her post here…after you’re finished with mine, of course!)

One part I was going to include in my post on that subject was how your writing will, whether you like it or not, become your legacy. What do I mean by that?

One evening, we visited my oldest daughter and her family. As soon as we walked in, my nine-year old grandson informed me that he had pestered my daughter incessantly until she finally caved in and allowed him to utilize her computer (keep in mind she was in nursing school at this time, and deadlines were approaching). He wanted her laptop so he could “write a book.”

I asked him what it was about, and he described the details with a fervor matching any newbie writer at a writer’s conference. I have to admit, for a nine-year old who reads on a 6th grade level now, it was a very imaginative and in-depth storyline!

He did have a lament, however (He’s now a true writer, right?). It revolved around the fact that he did not have his own computer to write books like me, so he had to borrow his mom’s computer. And because she was in school, “she uses it all the time!” I suggested that he could handwrite it on a notepad, then transcribe it to the computer when Mom allowed him to use it. His mother said, “Hmmm, do I hear an echo? Seems like I suggested the same thing about an hour ago.”

I also told him that sometimes, we have to do that because we’re not near a computer, or having one with us at that moment is not a good idea. Like the time I was at the beach, lounging on a balcony, relaxing and listening to the ocean lap against the shore. It was there, in that moment, when a whirlwind of thoughts that had danced around the inner recesses of my mind for some time whipped themselves into true inspiration. I grabbed a notepad, and two hours later, I had the first three chapters to what is now The Serpent’s Grasp. Then, when I was near a computer, I typed it up.

Needless to say, he was impressed with my story, but he was not impressed with my method of transcription. (His mother would later inform me that evening that they had plans to buy him a small laptop and did so a few weeks later.)

What’s the moral of the story? It appears—whether I like it or not…and I do!—that I am leaving a legacy via my writing. Other grandchildren have shared similar desires, and we always encourage it, because to read and write is a blessing not all children around the world get to share, so we don’t take it for granted.

So, when you are writing that story, developing those characters, and twisting that plot up real tight, keep in mind that there are eyes on you who will never leave a review. They’ll never write a blog on your book. They may not even be born yet! But there is one thing that is for certain: they’ll be some of your biggest fans, and that’s a type of legacy no amount of sales can replicate.

There’s a type of legacy no amount of sales can replicate. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

When the Clock Strikes Fourteen
When the Clock 
Strikes Fourteen

The Blake Meyer Thriller Series Book 4

An Insane Retribution. An Insidious Radical. An Intense Reunion.

When he got married, Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer worried that shielding his family from his past would prove to be formidable. Now, as precious time ticks away, Blake finds himself flying over the ocean at twenty thousand feet, searching for his family, and watching helplessly as his greatest fear wraps its tentacles around his past, present, and future, inextricably weaving them into a deadly game of vengeance.

With the help of his longtime friend, Harrison Kelly, and a small band of soldiers, Blake sets out to rescue the only people he has ever truly loved…before it’s too late.

However, unbeknownst to Blake, retooled plans have been set in motion to keep the contagion in play. To keep the threat alive. To bring a country to its knees. And forge the dawning of a new era.

One free of American interference.

One dominated and controlled by those who survive the carnage.

One without Blake Meyer.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out! Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, are now available!! Also, the second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is also now available!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

Website: www.ckevinthompson.com/
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Instagram: ckevinthompson
Pinterest: ckevinthompsonauthor
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson
BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Writing Lessons I Learned While Eating Chocolate By Rhonda Herren Starnes

I don’t know about you, but when I write, I get the munchies. My current writing treat of choice is Dove Promises, dark chocolate with almonds. Yummy! I’ll reward myself with one or two pieces when I reach certain writing goals…. daily word count, pages edited, etc. As an added bonus, I get a little note of inspiration and encouragement. Today, I thought I’d share with you four writing lessons I’ve learned while eating chocolate.  

Lesson #1: If you don’t take chances, you’ll never succeed.
I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was twelve-years-old. I would talk about it all the time, constantly saying, “One day…” However, it wasn’t until six years ago when my hubby called me on it, telling me either write a book or stop talking about it, that I finally sat down and wrote. Since then, I’ve written three complete books and started two others. I’m still not published, but I’m writing and entering contests and participating in pitch opportunities. It’s all about getting your work in front of the right person. Take chances!

Lesson #2: Just Write.
I must admit this one is hard for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a middle school language arts teacher and I’m used to correcting grammar, or if it’s because I’m a picky person. However, on the rare occasion, when I am successful at silencing my inner editor, I am much more productive. Even if half of the words end up being cut, I end up with more (usable) words in a shorter amount of time than I do when I’m sitting at my keyboard correcting and/or rewriting every sentence trying to make it perfect as I go. So, just write!

Lesson #3: Revise, revise, revise.
The book isn’t finished just because you typed “the end.” That’s when the real work begins. Never submit the first draft of a manuscript to an editor, agent, or contest. Read it. Revise it. Read it, again. Revise some more.

Now, with that said, you don’t want to get caught in a revision cycle that never ends. At some point you need to hit send. Just make sure, you’re submitting a manuscript you put your best effort into. Show your best work!

Lesson #4: Don’t let rejections stop you in your tracks.
Time for full disclosure. Having an editor or an agent reject your manuscript hurts. And it really hurts if you were given a chance to revise a manuscript and resubmit it for consideration only to receive a rejection in the end. I’ve had that happen, more than once. The last time it happened, I let self-doubt take over. How could I get this close and still not get a book contract? Is my writing so bad that I’ll never get a traditional publisher to take a chance on me?
The self-doubt engulfed me for an entire year. During that time, I only wrote one proposal (three chapters and a synopsis). That’s all. Writing was painful.

Fortunately, I have wonderful writing sisters and friends who encouraged me and lifted me from the cloud that surrounded me. I’m focused and ready to succeed, now. I’ll never get my year of writing time back, and that saddens me. However, I can’t dwell on the past. I have books to write. Don’t dwell in the past! The road may be bumpy, keep going!

Rhonda Herren Starnes writes stories of romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They have been married for thirty-three years and have two grown children and four grandchildren.

Rhonda is an ELA teacher with twenty-two years of experience. Other than the obvious task of teaching her students how to read, write, and communicate effectively, she sees her number one goal as an educator to be that of a motivator. She wants her students to learn, by her example, to go after their dreams.
• 2014 Love Inspired Suspense Killer Voices, finalist.
• 2015 Love Inspired Suspense Blurb to Book, finalist.
• 2016 Wisconsin Fab Five Silver Quill Award, Inspirational Category Winner.
• 2016 ACFW Genesis, semi-finalist.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Feeling Stuck? Take Time to Refuel by Kathleen Rouser

Perhaps it was the first picture book your mom read to you, an old leather bound version of The Secret Garden you found at your grandma’s, or a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe you borrowed from the library which sparked your desire to write. Before I was a fiction author, I fell in love with a real hard copy book while growing up. From the scent of fresh ink and paper in a brand-new book to the softness of well-worn pages and the musty scent of being on a shelf somewhere for a long time, books spoke to my longing.

The stories we read can help us fall in love with words again, the power they have to create pictures in our imaginations and take us away from the pressures or boredom of daily life. To pick up a good book and read for an hour can be like a mini-vacation.

There are days when we are discouraged or stuck, when we might even sit and stare at a prewritten story outline and find every word we write a chore. While we might able to force ourselves to produce words for a deadline, there are times when we might feel empty and need to put fuel in the tank of imagination and emotions before we can write.

One day, I was at the local post office, which is around the corner from our public library. So often I’ve looked up books and reserved them online. I’d pick them up quickly to be time efficient. That day I decided to give myself the luxury of looking around the library for the fun of it, picking up books to look at . . . just because.

I may have spent only an hour and a half there, but the time relaxing and reading and soaking in the atmosphere filled me up again with new ideas, more creativity and a renewed desire to handle real books! Yes, I must confess, that I have a Kindle and it’s wonderful for taking with me and for reading at night, so as not to disturb my light sleeper of a husband. However, that special time at the library helped me remember how I first fell in love with words and stories.

When I still had children at home, taking the time to treat myself to a latte at a cafe, while writing in a notebook, often gave me the time off I needed. This gave me the chance to refuel as well. I have often felt these days that I can’t or shouldn’t take the time to read, relax, and refuel and have also reaped the consequences.

The reality is that if we don’t take that time, even occasionally, the emotional energy we need to write isn’t there. Taking those needed times to refuel—whether it’s a walk outside, watching a favorite movie, or revisiting a favorite book—have helped me to become a more productive writer when I get back to my laptop.

I have often felt these days that I can’t or shouldn’t take the time to read, relax, and refuel and have also reaped the consequences. via @KathleenRouser #SeriouslyWrite #writingtips


Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. Kathleen wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband, Jack, and the sassy tailless cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection

Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of
the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.

Includes The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser: 1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

On Longing for Home, the Nature of Story, and Writing Well by Sondra Kraak

When I was twenty-three, I drove my Ford Escort, packed with all my belongings, across the country from Seattle to North Carolina. I had a job, and I welcomed the adventure.

Three years later, married and with a child on the way, I wondered what I had been thinking. How does a heart survive having two homes twenty-five hundred miles apart? What had seemed adventurous—leaving my home—now felt haunting.

Though I am now established in a job and at a church which I love, homesickness has been a familiar companion to me through the past sixteen years. I have grown to accept this sensation of feeling not quite at home as part of my story, but more so, I have welcomed it as a deep well of inspiration for the stories I write.

A key component of story, in my opinion, is the homesick condition of humanity. Living east of Eden, we are not home anymore. Things are not as they should be, and we feel it in our core. Homesickness is much more than simply longing for one’s home. It is a fundamental recognition that we are separated from the expression of home: comfort, belonging, identity, family, familiarity, safety.

This sense of separation undergirds most every story, and that makes all stories, in a sense, a journey home.

[Okay. Disclaimer. Not all stories, right? There are genres where the journey doesn’t end at home. I don’t read those books.]

The adult years I’ve spent in a state of chronic homesickness have given me an affection for the journeys we all take to find home and belonging. I am sympathetic to my characters’ longings, wounds, and searches for redemption because I have been away from and missed something that I love. I know the melancholy of not being where you want to be. I know the heartache of not belonging.

We write well when we confront what has pained us and recognize that often, within that pain, is also a gift. Perhaps a gift of insight, empathy, or wisdom. Take away the hardship and with it goes the growth.

We write well when we confront what has pained us and recognize that often, within that pain, is also a gift. Perhaps a gift of insight, empathy, or wisdom. Take away the hardship and with it goes the growth. #writingwell #SeriouslyWrite @MaryAFelkins

We’ve just celebrated Easter, and from my perspective, Easter is a celebration of coming home. When Jesus died, the curtain of the temple tore, indicating that the way into an intimate relationship with the Father is now open for all. When Jesus rose from the dead, defeating sin and death, he made possible an eternal home for us with himself.

Welcome home, friends.

When Jesus rose from the dead, defeating sin and death, he made possible an eternal home for us with himself.

Welcome home, friends. #Easter #writingwell #SeriouslyWrite @MaryAFelkins

Have you been homesick? I know you have. Share with me how that sense of sadness and longing has benefited you as a writer. Or has it hindered you in any way?

Sondra Kraak, a native of Washington State, grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, Instagramming about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women's Fiction Award. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook and join her newsletter for a free short story and information about special devotional series.

Connect with Sondra

One Plus One Equals Trouble

The one room schoolhouse isn’t big enough to hold thirty-four students, let alone the egos of two teachers. He can’t afford to lose the position, and she refuses to lose her heart. Washington, 1891 Humiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired. When scandal forces professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land. Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart. With large doses of humor and romantic tension, this Christian historical love story offers a picture of grace, forgiveness, and finding true worth.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Lemons or Lemonade...Writing Through Adversity by Mary Manners

Are you a lemon or a lemonade sort of person? I think most writers, as least those who are in it for the long haul, develop skills that allow them to turn their lemons into lemonade. You see, we writers pen stories filled with close-knit families, life-long friends, and happily-ever-after's. But real-life isn't always that way. Sometimes the car stalls, you have a spat with your best friend, it rains on a wedding day, or someone you trusted betrays you.

Those times are when it's most important to remember the reason you became a writer. If you're like me, writing is a love, a passion...a safe haven. It's a sane place to go when the world around me becomes less-than-sane. That said, it's easy to let the storms of life detract from what needs to be accomplished. Don't get swept up in them. Hang on and know that however rough the storm may be, God is in control and you will get through it to safe shores.

So when adversity strikes take those lemons and turn them into lemonade. Write the next chapter. Turn those experiences into wisdom and keep writing. Make lists and stick to them, if it helps. Be tenacious and protect your time. Think of writing like eating and breathing. Then write some more. Soon the clouds will break, the sun will shine again, and the lemonade you made is sure, in the end, to be delicious.



She coaxes her dream of opening a wedding shop into reality when she commissions Morgan Holt to transform a run-down Victorian house into an all-inclusive bridal boutique, Diamond Knot Dreams. Clover Cove’s residents have whispered that the house is filled with spirits, but superstitions have no place in Lila's life.

Morgan Holt spent the better part of his youth transplanted from one foster home to another. Separated from his older brother, Gunnar, at an early age, they’re reunited shortly after Morgan’s arrival to Clover Cove. But the last thing Morgan wants is to trust his heart again to a family—or a woman as beautiful as Lila Brooks. He has plans to finish work on the Victorian and then ride off into the sunset, a move he’s perfected over the years.

Soon Lila and Morgan have a chance at their own Happily Ever After, but will events from the past destroy their future?


Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime sharing her joy of writing. She lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and their rescue dog Axel, mischievous cats Colby and Rascal, 8 rambunctious chickens, and 13 fish.

Mary writes stories full of faith and hope. Her books have earned multiple accolades including two Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, the Heart of Excellence, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Mary loves long sunrise runs, Smoky Mountain sunsets, and flavored coffee. She enjoys connecting with reader friends through her website: www.MaryMannersRomance.com.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Power of Abiding by JoAnn Durgin

Meme that says "Be Still and Know That I Am God

The Power of Abiding

When I first started on my writing journey, I’d heard repeatedly that in order to be published, I must have a literary agent. It was a given, not an option. Mind you, this was 2008 or thereabouts, when independent publishing was frowned upon as something only those who couldn’t get published the traditional way would “resort” to doing when all else failed. How times have changed!

So, I followed “the rules” and began submitting my manuscript to agents who represented Christian authors. Imagine my surprise when it caught the attention of one of the top agents who told me I had one of the best queries he’d ever read. I’d done my homework—studying several of his blog posts and learning about his personal interests. When I mentioned one of those interests in my query—a great fondness we shared for a beloved author—that’s what had him hooked. As requested, I sent him the first three chapters. What happened next? Suffice it to say, I’ve never had an agent. But—32 books later, that’s okay. He told me I wasn’t ready, and you know what? A few tears, rants, and months later, I reached the conclusion that he was right (as I told him when I first met him at a writing conference). As always, God had a plan…

At the time, I was a member of an online writing group that offered paid critiques from well-known contemporary Christian romance authors. I signed up for a critique, and it was harsh and borderline scathing. She advised me to leave my characters on the proverbial cutting room floor and move on to greener pastures. Gulp. What? After all, this was the story I knew God wanted me to try and publish first. Contrary to what she assumed, it wasn’t the first novel I’d drafted, but more like the fourth. The one where God had (I believe) miraculously restored half the story after I’d lost it! Not only that, but He’d confirmed it was “the one” (you can read more about that at www.joanndurgin.com).

Thankfully, another author came along and encouraged me to keep working on the manuscript because “readers need to hear your story.” If nothing else, once I set my mind on something, I keep plugging away. I’ve been known to do things just to prove I can—within reason. It doesn’t always work, of course, but sometimes it does. Taking the second author’s advice, I revised the story and made the heroine less snarky. Then I made my story more humorous, longer, shorter, you name it, before submitting to more agents. You see what I was doing, don’t you? I was changing my story to please others, and in the process, I’d lost my writing voice. Not to mention I was driving myself crazy. No more!

Miss Determined then reworked those first three chapters. I wrote them my way, praying all the way. Then I went online and did a search for Christian romance publishers that accepted unagented submissions. I went through the list, weeding out those that didn’t fit. I sent queries (some with the first three chapters) to six publishers, and one of them became my first publisher a few months later.

My church recently participated in a Priscilla Shirer “Going Beyond” simulcast. What I didn’t know until I sat in the pew that day was that her theme was “Abide.” I was especially encouraged and thrilled since the seventh book in my Lewis Legacy Series is titled Abide with John 15:4-5 as the novel’s theme verses.

4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (NASB)

As I’ve moved along in my writing journey, I’ve learned the power of abiding. Priscilla’s message reminded me what that truly means—remaining and receiving, being patient and quiet (admittedly a challenge for me), and then (this is so important) listening for that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. The idea of abiding also embodies the concept of Be still, and know that I am God. ~from Psalm 46:10 (NIV).

I bought a T-shirt at “Going Beyond” with this message: Live by Grace, not perfection. How I love this! My mother always lovingly “accused” me of being a perfectionist. Isn’t that what God expects from us? No! He expects our best, and we need to understand our human imperfections. If God doesn’t expect perfection, then why should we? The only Perfect One has already come! What a freeing thought that is! One of the bottom lines in publishing is this: you can write a grammatically and/or technically correct book, but when it comes to fiction, it’s so subjective and everyone’s got an opinion. Men can be critical, but God grants us His grace. Amen! Be guided by the Word of God, not the opinions of man.

Whether you’re starting your writing journey, or if you’re currently involved in pursuing publication, or whether you’ve published one or more than a hundred books, God has a plan. Whether you have an agent or not, He has a plan. Whether you go the route of traditional publishing or pursue independent publishing, the Almighty has a plan. Pray and abide. Wait on Him in everything in your journey—timing, purpose, and content. And then listen for His voice.

If you do those things, then you’ll be just fine. Blessings, friends.

Until His Nets Are Full,
Matthew 5:16

Live by grace, not perfection. #seriouslywrite #thepowerofabiding via @Gr8tReads


Catherine “Caty” Lewis is thrilled to be home again with her family and friends. After working as a chief accountant for a multinational oil corporation in Dallas and then Lubbock the past five years, she’s been transferred to their new world headquarters in downtown Houston. Before she can even inhabit her new office, she schedules a private meeting with the reclusive founder and CEO. Someone in her division appears to be embezzling funds, and Caty prays she’s not the prime suspect.

After suffering a deeply personal loss, Caleb Reid is struggling to raise his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Lauren, on his own. He moved to Houston for a fresh start and to escape the threats that have plagued him the past few years. Then quickly discovers he can’t outrun them.

When these two meet, romantic sparks fly. Caty stares down fear with the kind of strong faith Caleb has neglected along the way. Can he risk endangering Caty in his fight against an unseen threat? Have the walls he’s built around him and his daughter served to protect them or to keep others from getting too close to his heart?

ABIDE. An enduring love story between a man and a woman. A story of standing firmly on God’s promises, never giving into fear, and placing our trust in the One who is infinitely more capable.

JoAnn Durgin
JoAnn Durgin is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty contemporary Christian romance novels, including her signature Lewis Legacy Series. A native of southern Indiana, JoAnn likes to say she’s “been around in the nicest sense of the word” after living in four states across the country before returning to her hometown with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, JoAnn loves to travel and spend time with their first grandchild, Amelia Grace. Feel free to connect with her at https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin or via her website at https://joanndurgin.com.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

True to the story, or true to the reader? by Robin Patchen

I’ll be honest: I’ve had complaints. And more than a couple of people have asked me why I wrote my latest story in three parts.

I can’t blame them. I never thought I’d write a book with a cliffhanger ending, much less two. That’s definitely not what I set out to do when I started this book last spring.

But the story went where it went. I had set out to write a shorter story than normal and ended up with a story so complex, I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into a single book. It wasn’t just the length, either, though that was an issue. It finished at about 525 pages, far too long for a book in the romantic suspense genre. But the bigger issue was the story itself.

I agonized over what to do with Harper’s story. Should I cut the first part, make it backstory? I considered that option, but the beginning of her story set up the rest. Not only that, but it showed the character growing through some very difficult trials. Here was a woman who’d been in prison, a woman who felt the guilt and shame of all her choices, a woman who could very easily have run away from the trials she was suddenly facing. I needed to show how love—not romantic love but love for an old man in her care—changed her, opened her heart to the true love of the Father.

So I contemplated cutting the middle part, but how could I shortchange the romance, the growing friendships, and the personal growth? Not only that, but the reader needed the middle part of the story to witness the villain growing more desperate.

And the ending… I couldn’t possibly hack away at the last part, where the story came together.

I sought counsel from wise friends and prayed for guidance. I know it’s a just story, but it is my story, and the story needed to be told the way it needed to be told. It’s a good story, one filled with danger and hope and Truth. At least, that’s how I see it. Sometimes, when we writers are faced with the choice between satisfying genre rules or telling the story to the best of our abilities, we must choose the story. Sometimes, the story is worth breaking the rules.
Don’t misunderstand me: genre rules are very important. It’s vital to know your readers’ expectations. When you meet and exceed those expectations, you will be rewarded with super-fans. That’s always my goal.

In my previous books, I tried to remain faithful to those genre rules, and I think readers have rewarded me for that
But in the case of Beauty in Flight, I felt like I could either meet audience expectations for the story or I could meet their expectations for the length and price of the book. I couldn’t do both, so I chose to stay true to the story and release three books in order to manage pricing and length expectations.
Like I said, there’ve been some complaints. A handful of people have emailed me to share their frustrations. One reader suggested I was manipulative and questioned my salvation.

At the same time, I’ve received many, many emails from people thanking me for the stories and encouraging me to write more. The first book in the series, Beauty in Flight, has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon. It’s not as good as the ratings for my earlier books—or the ratings for the later books in the series—but it’s still respectable. The bad reviews are from people who don’t like cliffhanger endings.
The final book in the series, Beauty in Battle, released last week and is already collecting positive reviews.

In the end, I’m glad I stayed true to the story, even if it might have cost me a few readers. I am, after all, a storyteller at heart. The experience of releasing a linked series has made me even more thankful to my loyal readers, many of whom encourage me and inspire me to write the best books I can.
Have you ever felt like you had to choose between writing your best story and meeting reader expectations? How did you manage it?

Amazon Buy Link

Beauty in Flight

Her beauty once opened doors, but the felony conviction slams them shut.

Harper Cloud used to love the gilded glamour of Las Vegas, but on the far side of prison, she sees the cracks in the veneer. These days, she keeps her head down and focuses on the elderly patients in her care. Even her new wealthy east-coast boyfriend, Derrick, can't entice her away. She's trusted men before, and look where that got her.

She tries to brush off the feeling that she's being watched. But when she's followed home one night and her pursuer gets within a hair's breadth of grabbing her, she knows it's time to get away from Las Vegas.

Maybe Derrick can be trusted. Maybe his job offer—to care for his aging grandfather in Maryland—will be the second chance she needs.

But Derrick has secrets of his own, secrets that could take him down--and take Harper with him.

Can there be a second chance for someone like her?

Buy Beauty in Flight today, Book 1 in a 3-book-series that’ll keep you guessing until the very end.

Series page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MWC4GVS/
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beauty-in-flight-robin-patchen/1129942040
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/beauty-in-flight
AppleBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beauty-in-flight/id1444665084?mt=11
GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=3Nl7DwAAQBAJ

Chat with Robin Patchen on staying true to your story! @RobinPatchen @TerriWeldon

About Robin Patchen:
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Download a free copy of Convenient Lies, book 1 in the Hidden Truth series, when you visit Robin's website, robinpatchen.com.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Adventures of a Burnt-Out Author by Patty Smith Hall

Last year, I experienced what it is to be completely burnt out for the first time in my life. I should have seen it coming. Always considered a busy bee, my last fifteen months had been particularly industrious with nine novella contracts, a new grandson and another back surgery. Never one to back away from a challenge, I faced it head on, and ended up so exhausted, I contracted the horrible flu that spread throughout the country in 2018. Complications delayed my recover so that by the time I felt well enough to get back to my life, half the year was gone.

Here’s a few of my mistakes that you can learn from:

1) Rest
There’s a reason God took his rest on the seventh day. He never tires, but He wanted to set an example for us. He knew our bodies and minds needed rest in order to carry out all the plans He had designed just for us.

But there are some of us who think rest is for other people. Personally, I’m like Tigger the tiger, always bouncing around with a daily to-do list as long as my arm. But even Tigger gets tired! 

The truth is rest makes you more productive. It clears your head and renews your strength for the daily grind. It’s not just necessary. It’s important to our well-being. God commands us to rest—so obey Him and do it!

2) Read
A few years ago, Danny and I came up with this idea of the dream vacation. We would rent a condo on the beach and spend the days just reading and lounging around. Can you image? Long hours with nothing to do but be engrossed in a book. Three years ago, we finally made it happen. BEST VACATION EVER! I read nine books that week! When we came home, I was pumped to write again. Why? Because while I enjoyed the books, my brain had a chance to soak in the writing. It made me a better writer!

So, read as much as you can! Don’t delegate it to your yearly vacation but read every day. Try another genre instead of the one you write. And don’t get bogged down in critiquing the writing—just savor the experience. Your body and mind (as well as your writing) will thank you!

3) Learn to use the word ‘No.’
Over the years, I’ve preached to several writing friends about the necessity of saying no. It’s a word we should use frequently if we want to get and stay published.

But as I learned the hard way, you don’t have to say yes to every writing opportunity offered to you either. As I mentioned before, I had nine novellas contracted over the period of fifteen months. Think about that for a moment—nine different sets of characters with different motivations and conflicts in nine different time periods.

What was I thinking? Probably that I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be published (the checks helped too!) There were others that would jump at the chance to be published so I had to take the contract, right?

I don’t know. By the time I wrote the last contracted novella, I could hardly remember what I wrote. Did my characters have a strong motivation and conflict? Did the story even make sense?

By the grace of God, it did. In fact, my editors stayed in stitches reading it (remember, I was punch-drunk by then.) It became my first historical comedy. Yet, I learned my lesson. I backed out of three more commitments due over the next year, and I’m fine with that.

4) Plan out your day.
I’m big on using planners—I use two planners that are geared to writers (Susan May Warren’s My Brilliant Writing Planner and The Serious Writer Companion.) The one drawback about using a planner is you see all the things you don’t get done. So, if you’re me, you spend your day trying to play catch up or worse still, trying to do two things at one time.

Learn to give yourself a break! Books aren’t written in a day! Don’t fill up your schedule with so many things, you have no hope of completing them. Delegate. Let others help you. They will if you let them.

It took me a few months to get back to writing again, but now, I do it with a renewed sense of purpose. I stopped beating myself up for what I couldn’t accomplish but rather celebrate what I did get done. I’m in a better place, one that honors God and follows His example of rest.

Are you suffering from writing burn-out? Tips to combat it via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite #writingtips


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Not So Boring Road by Shannon Redmon

The day dawned warm and bright, the weather too nice to stay inside. My husband and I took off to Dupont State Park in North Carolina to hike to three of the most beautiful waterfalls in our area.

When we arrived, people milled about with their children, pets and loved ones. We took off down a somewhat muddy path and stopped at the first cascade. Water levels were high and thundered over the falls. Scenic beauty surrounded us with tall trees, the whistle of birds and early spring flowers poking their heads from the cold winter ground.

Then, a flash of orange and yellow moved across the river’s current. A kayaker steered his boat right over the ten-foot drop of Hooker Falls. What a thrilling surprise! The man made the plunge over with great skill and joined his waiting family at the bottom. Little did we know, God had more in store for us that day.

When we left, my husband took a wrong turn and came to a gravel road. Most couples would’ve turned around. That was what I wanted to do. There was no way this boring backwoods passage led anywhere close to our destination, but my sweet hubby didn’t listen to me—a trait I’ve tried to change over the years and been unsuccessful. He steered the truck onto the path.

I stared out the window in a little bit of a huff, since I didn’t get my way, when my husband slammed on the brakes and pointed. “Look!”

Off to the side, a beautiful waterfall cascaded down the mountain. We got out. Took pictures. Such a delight. My spirits lifted. By the end of our journey, we found another waterfall and a crystal-clear lake.

If my husband had listened to me and turned around, we would’ve missed all the beauty God placed before us and headed home on the boring interstate. Hint: Really doesn’t pay to try to change our spouses, but that’s a whole other post. :)

God often prods writers in unexpected directions, down wayward paths we try to avoid. We cling to the same comfortable habits wrapped around us like a warm, fluffy blanket. But we might be missing the beauty of God’s glory waiting around the next bend.

“For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

We’ve been called to write. Then why do we hesitate? Why do we doubt, instead of hiking the trail God has placed before us?

Time to step out in faith.

• Submit that dusty manuscript to an agent, publisher or critique group.
• Take part in a writer’s conference and learn about our calling. (Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference is in May and the American Christian Fiction Writers conference is in September)
• Ask God to provide the money to learn about the craft.
• Join an online or local writing group.
• Find a writing partner.
• Write the first chapter of the story God has placed in our hearts.

No matter where the road may lead, don’t turn around. Be adventurous with God. Sometimes the roads less traveled, turn up God’s greatest blessings.

No matter where the road may lead, don’t turn around. Be adventurous with God. Sometimes the roads less traveled, turn up God’s greatest blessings. #amwriting #waterfalls @shannon_redmon

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown up book she checked out from the neighborhood book mobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.
There's nothing better than the power of a captivating novel, a moving song or zeal for a performance that punches souls with awe. A rainbow displayed after a horrific storm or expansive views on a mountaintop bring nuggets of joy into our lives. Shannon hopes stories immerse readers into that same kind of amazement, encouraging faith, hope and love, guiding our hearts to the One who created us all.
Shannon Redmon’s writing has been published in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, the Lightning Blog, The Horse of My Dreams compilation book, Romantic Moments compilation book, Seriously Write blog and Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog. Her current fiction novel was selected as a top three finalist of the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest and she is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Connect with Shannon:
The StoryMoore Blog, named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/shannon.redmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannon_redmon
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonredmon/

Monday, April 15, 2019

It's Not 'Goodbye,' It's 'See You' by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
When my son was a toddler, he developed the most charming idiosyncrasy. He never simply said, ‘Goodbye.’ Rather, with his security blanket tucked safe against his cheek, his eyes drooping with exhaustion after spending a Sunday with his boisterous extended family, he’d wiggle his chubby little fingers at Grandpa and Grandma and murmur, “Buh-bye. See you.”

He never failed to add the ‘See you.’

Over time, the way we interpreted it, a type of instinct seemed to kick in. You see, he never wanted to simply say ‘Goodbye.’ Instead, he clung to the words ‘See you.’ Goodbye was too final. Saying ‘See you’ meant there’d be another gathering, more shared moments, more laughter, more joy and happiness to be found. Together. To this day—and he’s an incredible grown man with a family of his own—he remains the same. That tradition carried over. When we get together, and a parting is at hand, we don’t say goodbye. We say, ‘See you.’

Those precious moments are amplified for me now and I’m hoping that instinct will serve me well as I come to a crossroads and wrestle with a difficult decision. Five years ago to this very month, I joined the Seriously Write team as a monthly contributor. Annette Irby (God bless her – she’s truly a hostess with the mostest) invited me to participate in this remarkable blog and embrace the mission of encouraging fellow authors. Being a cheerleader by nature, I embraced the journey.

During those five years, I gained much more than I gave, believe me, and I pray I’ve succeeded in touching a few hearts along the way. The thing is, life marches in, and marches on. After a lot of prayer and months of deliberation, I’ve decided the time has come to move on. Not to say a dreaded ‘Goodbye’ but to say, ‘See you.’

My prayer for each and every one of you who visit Seriously Write is that you find nourishment, and hope. I want to thank the gifted team that works tirelessly on this blog’s quality, message, and impact. You’re God-given treasures and I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together, not just as fellow travelers on this crazy-wonderful writing journey, but as fellow travelers on the road to creating stories that honor Christ, affirm faith, and send a message of hope into a hurting world. Sharing my thoughts with you has been a privilege.

But, remember…

This doesn’t mean I’m gone forever. Perhaps the team will welcome me back when I have the occasional spark to share. This isn’t ‘Goodbye.’ This is ‘See you.’ And until time comes, may God bless you and shine through you.

With much love,


Benjamin Fisher melds with quiet perfection into the tapestry of the Fisher family. The youngest of the three Fisher men, Ben is gifted with skills that keep machines running, crops efficiently harvested, farm structures sound and secure.

But there’s one person in the small village of Antioch, Indiana who has noticed and adored the man since her youth. Hailey Beth Thomas. Hailey Beth’s sister is marrying Ben’s brother in a spring wedding that promises to be the event of the season. Thrown together as the heady romance of an upcoming marriage takes place, love and revelation come to life.

Unknown to anyone else, Ben wants to answer a call to the mission fields of North America that will lead him far from the life he has always known. Ben longs to serve, but he wants a life with Hailey Beth as well. Hailey Beth can’t leave Antioch, but can’t bear the idea of losing Ben.

Are they meant to be together, or will God’s call pull them apart just as they’ve found a way to one another?


Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of faith-affirming fiction who has won acclaim from critics and readers alike. RT Book Reviews named her book Forgiveness a 4.5-Star Top Pick and readers laude her books as ‘riveting’ and ‘true to heart.’ She’s a life-long resident of Michigan who calls suburban Detroit home.